Ironically enough, I had the opportunity to speak for a few minutes with former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman in federal prison over the weekend. Siegelman, a Democrat, has so far served nearly two years for a "crime" (a controversial corruption charge) that had never before been considered a crime before he was found guilty of it. He is likely to serve many more years in prison for the charges brought by Republicans, including a federal prosecutor whose husband was the chief of staff of Siegelman's gubernatorial rival Bob Riley, a team of folks, including the judge, who are all good friends of Karl Rove and who are said to have"coached, cajoled and threatened" the star witness in the case.
Today, in the meantime, Tom DeLay, the former Republican leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, who was convicted of money-laundering hundreds of thousands of corporate dollars in Texas to give them to candidates -- something that has been an actual crime for decades in the state -- was acquitted of all charges by a 2-to-1 decision of a Texas appeals court.
DeLay never served a day in prison. Siegelman, on the day he was convicted, before the appeals process could even begin, was literally shackled and carted away. The basis for Siegelman's conviction has subsequently been challenged in a letter signed by a group of 113 bipartisan former state attorneys general.
For the record, when I spoke with Siegelman from his federal penitentiary in Oakdale, La., over the weekend, he seemed to be in incredibly good spirits. At least that's the impression he offered during our very short chat. I can only imagine how dispiriting it must be today, however, for him to read the news about DeLay.
Once again, it seems, IOKIYAR.